Last year was a particularly bad one for natural disasters, both in terms of human lives lost and economic cost. Although the earthquake that hit the Iranian city of Bam on December 26 was by far the deadliest disaster of the year, killing some 45,000 people, in monetary terms it didn't come close to some of the year's other events. Insurance group Munich Re issues an annual review of global natural disasters. It said last year's 700 major events took at least 75,000 lives and left a bill for damages in excess of US$65 billion. The most expensive single disaster was the heatwave that hit Europe, killing more than 20,000 people, with insured losses of more than US$10 billion. The insurance giant is warning that as climate change continues, even moderate changes in temperatures will result in more and more catastrophic weather events. 'It is to be feared that extreme events which can be traced to climate change will have increasingly grave consequences in the future,' the insurer says. 'Neither human beings, buildings and infrastructure nor the agricultural and livestock sectors are prepared for such extremes ... we would be well-advised to prepare ourselves for dramatic changes.'